Ontario Legislature Passes PANDAS/PANS Awareness Day Act, 2016

QUEEN’S PARK –On Tuesday, MPPs at the Ontario Legislative Assembly voted unanimously to pass Bill 43, The PANDAS/PANS Awareness Day Act, 2016.  The legislation, which was introduced by Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey, officially recognizes October 9th of each year as PANDAS/PANS Awareness Day in Ontario.

PANDAS/PANS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus/ Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) are little known and often misdiagnosed autoimmune disorders that develop in children and adolescents following a streptococcus infection.  Symptoms of PANDAS/PANS can include, but are not limited to: obsessive compulsive behaviours; generalized anxiety; joint pain; restrictive eating; tics; separation anxiety; hyperactivity; sleep difficulties; and choreiform movements.  At this time  PANDAS/PANS is a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms only, as a result, children and adolescents are often being misdiagnosed and improperly medicated.

The driving force behind creating an awareness day in the province was the organization PANDAS/PANS Ontario, which was created by Sarnia-Lambton resident Kerry Henrikson following her family’s own experience dealing with PANDAS/PANS in her young children.

“After learning about PANDAS/PANS from Kerry and all the work the families involved with the PANDAS/PANS Ontario organization have done to raise public awareness of these rare disorders, I’m glad I was able to assist by having October 9th officially recognized as PANDAS/PANS Awareness Day in Ontario,” said MPP Bailey following the vote.

Ontario joins one other province and about two dozen states in recognizing October 9th as PANDAS/PANS Awareness Day.

To learn more about PANDAS/PANS visit: http://www.pandaspansontario.org/